Canine Southeast '17 - 18: Feeding Time at Gorgopotamos (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Orthodox Southeast '17 - 17: Discreetly dressed at Metéora (50 p.)

The video for this part (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

October 25 2017

After the early train at Kalabaka, we drove southeast past Trikala and Karditsa. My travel companions would spend a few days in Thessaloniki and afterwards fly home from Athens, I had made out Domokos as optimal intercity stop for them. On the day with worst weather forecast we often passed through heavy rain showers. Following national road 30 which partly had been extended to multiple lanes, a pregnant dog chose to cross right in front of us – resulting in a successful brake test. At Neo Monastiri, we turned south on the #3 road Larissa - Lamia, after a few miles a side road led to the station under reconstruction:

Welcoming committee.

Now the railroad photo tour started, IC 50 towards Thessaloniki was due soon. I drove to Ekkara and wanted to capture new and old bridges together from the mountain road - which was closed! So, I looked for a spot in town and found one next to the soccer pitch.

Afterwards, I sent message to provisional Domokos station that the wait would be over soon.

The "third hand" took pictures of the new Ekkara bridges upon return to Athens by Intercity 55 on October 29 2017.

Due to the weather and closed road, I did not linger as planned and moved on southwards to Lamia for the 1 p.m.-IC from Lianokladi.

A construction train on the new line viewed from the old line between Ekkara and Aggeie.

Back on October 25 2017, I had to follow slow trucks uphill past Domokos (the town is situated on a mountain, not next to the station) resulting in dirty spray covering the vehicle after the first rain in weeks. Through the city of Lamia, I drove directly to Gorgopotamos Bridge viewpoint.
My car in front of the Malian Gulf with the northern end of the second largest Greek island Euboea, to the right in the background: Thermopylae of recent pop-culture fame. Two thousand years ago, the sea had reached the mountains at this important strategic point, but nowadays a sandy floodplain extends for miles into the bay.

IC 55 Thessaloniki - Athens with scheduled stop at Lianokladi (mainline station for Lamia) at 1:06 p.m. came around the corner about 45 minutes late. In the background: Lamia.

Main attraction - also for regular tourists - is Gorgopotamos Bridge, a part of which had been destroyed on November 25 1942 by British SOE forces assisted by Greek resistance fighters:

Nowadays, shortly before being replaced by the new Kallidromo tunnel highspeed line, trains only creep across the bridge.

Panorama from Lamia to Thermopylae (the name is derived from two hot springs).

Now I had a lot of time to explore: Gorgopótamos River ("gorgos" - "fast", "potamos" - "river").
On the hilltop, I had encountered a lone starving doggy, so I paid the local mini market a visit. They did not have dog food, but at least some tins of meat. I bought three – upon return the dog was not to be seen, but I placed the contents on a reachable concrete platform. Probably he rather would have come with me as traces prove... :0)

The interesting construction from below.

Memorials all around the place.

IC 56 Athens - Thessaloniki, scheduled to pass Lianokladi at 4:41 p.m., appeared almost punctually.

The area included a chapel, even an artificial waterfall.

And bunker.

I had reserved accommodation for two nights at Loutrá Ipatis, featuring more hotels in a small village than any place in the vicinity due to a spa. A nice lady welcomed me as only guest of Hotel Esperia at a rate of just 25 Dollars per night.

October 26 2017

Next morning at 7:30 still in the dark the hotel lady did not let me leave without coffee and cake.
Good Morning, Greece! - Kaliméra Elláda!

After 8:30 I had reached my destination Skamnos, a mountainous village south of Lamia. At the end of the paved road I parked the car and continued on foot. If you still remember Datsuns - here you can find them...

... but only after having passed this family.

I was surprised by the 8:00-Intercity on Asopos Bridge at 8:57 a.m. I did not expect to see it, but it would come in handy later.

Fall in Greece.

I walked past St. Eustace church and looked for a viewpoint of the largest bridge on the mountain railroad section...

... 910 feet long Papadia Bridge north of Bralos. IC 53 only approached at 10:53 a.m. - at least double headed and nicely powering up the grade.

I captured the viaduct once in spotlight.

Mount Iti national park in the background.

On the way back... a rainbow?

More dogs!

Thanks to the 8:00-train! With rainbow.

Crossing Asopos Bridge in the evening viewed from the train to Larissa on October 22 2017.

I had parked the car at this idyllic spot on October 26 2017.

National road 3 features an even better viewpoint of the highest rail bridge in Greece - thanks again to the 8:00-train. The structure 330 feet above the gorge had also been destroyed in WWII:

Once more, a dog life was saved as it crossed the mountain road in front of my car. Down at the seaside I took the road Thermopylae - Gorgopotamos to scout spots for next morning. The rail line can be found to the right...

I visited Gorgopotamos Bridge for a last time. All food portions had been completely licked off the concrete, so I later got four tins from the market.
A parade ground serves as memorial to the Greek resistance on the hilltop.

At first, IC 52 passed by punctually. I was photographed by some railfans from Germany from the last car. :)

IC 55 approached, this time only 10 minutes delayed.

Afterwards, I explored the area near Ligaria and Stirfaka on the northern section Lianokladi - Domokos, which is supposed to be replaced a little later by the newly built line. Cotton is being cultivated here and in Thessaly. The moist, fertile soil on a cart track stuck to the tires until the end of the journey.

I turned into the valley leading to the Othris Tunnel construction site of the newly built line behind Strifaka. At first, I climbed a hill looking harmless from below but turning out to be covered in quite thorny vegetation. The views of both railroads were not ideal as well, but at least I captured this mood. I saw two guys hunting something with a rifle in the fields... later our paths crossed - I don't know if it was illegal, but I still am alive! ;-)

Next, I climbed the hillside where I should have done it in the first place, near the old railbridge close to Karya station. However, I did not walk to the bridge itself but chose a viewpoint of the new and old lines across the valley. I enjoyed a break for a snack, the weather improved, and the train really appeared in best spotlight shortly after 5 p.m.

View out of the valley: the old line leads in a horseshoe curve behind the viewer up the mountain to the right, the new tunnel is located further along the valley to the left. A decision had been made not to cross the Othris Mountains in a base tunnel, so this spectacular new chain of bridges will provide great photo opportunities in the future, while the old line nowadays often hides behind bushes.

The same scenery taken out of the train window.

You could not see the old viaduct from my spot, so I ran downhill and just caught the train crossing it. For visualization purposes, the IC has been extended virtually.

New viaducts above a cotton field in evening light - the cloudless grand finale will follow next time! :) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.